Following in the footsteps of her mother, Zirah Azmy continued the family business of making cakes using jelly or agar-agar with a focus to offer a wider range of beautifully crafted sweet treats.
Inspired by her mother’s dedication who has been making jelly cakes since 2006, the 26-year-old youthpreneur was keen to explore ideas on how she can contribute towards expanding the business products.
Formerly known as ‘Simply Jelly’, the home-based venture has rebranded to Baking Petals, featuring jelly cakes injected with agar liquid using a culinary syringe, creating layers of colourful motifs inside the crystal-like dessert.
Zirah noticed that her mother would have some agar liquid leftovers from her main batches which led her to initiate the idea of moulding jelly cakes into a variety of designs and shapes.
“Eventually, my passion in jelly-making grew and I was inspired by my mother’s dedication and creativity, that I did more research and explore similar field business from neighbouring countries, as agar-agar or jelly cakes were not popularly known in Brunei, as compared to other countries,” said the youth.
She became involved in the jelly-making business in 2014, during her university days and later on developed a strong passion to upgrade her skills and creativity through baking.
The youth decided to rename the business Baking Petals because she realised that the name ‘Simply Jelly’ had its limitations for future plans if they decide to expand their business to something more than just jellies.
“The name ‘Petals’ symbolises part of a flower in which my mother has gotten her name from a flower, Rose, as seen on our business logo. I would forever cherish the memories I have with my mother through Baking Petals,” said the 26-year-old.
Moreover, Baking Petals offers different flavours of square tray agar-agar such as watermelon, pandan, coconut, gulanau and fruit cocktails and what’s even better, they do not use any gelatin, an ingredient that is a concern for most people.
Other than that, they also have fruit puddings and a wide range of agar-agar cake designs, including jelly art, which is a rare find in the country.
“For me, agar-agar and jelly products are still lacking in Brunei, when compared to cakes or pastries sold in bakeries or local shops. Hence, offering these products may fill in the gap in our food industry service and provide an alternative to most popular cakes,” said Zirah.
Ever since they started, their main bestseller is the crystal agar-agar as well as the art jelly cakes which were a hit when they introduced them due to their taste and uniqueness.
Baking Petals offers its products to all ages from children who love colourful treats to adults and elderlies who are looking for something other than normal cakes.
The cakes are priced ranging from $10 to $50, depending on designs and customers’ requests.
“We showcase our products through Instagram and orders are made through WhatsApp. Instagram is such a powerful tool that boosts up our business marketing and obtains a great number of audience and customers,” said the entrepreneur.
The youthpreneur aims to upskill her talents and continue learning from all around the world whilst gaining the confidence to teach more people in the jelly making area so that they can offer more types of products or services in the future.
However, in this business, Zirah has gone through some difficulties and one of them is to juggle between her work and the business at the same time.
Even though it can be tough on her mentally and physically, it has taught her to become more disciplined and responsible in whatever she does.
“It is indeed an interesting and wonderful journey to become an entrepreneur. Being in the business, gives me endless opportunities to explore my passion and creativity, doing what I love since Day 1,” she added.
She further said that their sales were greatly affected during the wake of the pandemic but recovered in the second wave as orders from customers staying at home started coming in.
Running the business has taught the youth a lot, letting her grow and persevere, a value she holds dearly.
For her, what keeps her going each day is the support she received from customers, families and friends.
Check out the unique jelly cakes by Baking Petals featured on their @bakingpetals
This article was first published on 14 May 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 193 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN